Ambiguity of cybercrime laws a concern

Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) policy and research officer Milika Ligabalavu (middle) while presenting a submission on the Budapest Convention before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense. Picture: FIJIAN PARLIAMENT

Ambiguous cybercrime laws can give rise to its abuse as the interpretation of its provisions will be dependent on those who are enforcing it.

This was the sentiment shared by Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) policy and research officer Milika Ligabalavu while presenting a submission on the Budapest Convention before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense yesterday.

Through the submission, CCF provided a number of recommendations to be considered by the committee before the adoption of the convention.

“Freedom of expression and right to privacy are fundamental human rights that are recognized under the 2013 Constitution and the rectified international conventions,” she said. Ms Ligabalavu also noted that under Fiji’s domestic legislation, the Cyber Crime Act 2021, there was no specific definition of fundamental rights such

as freedom of expression and privacy. “Limitations to any human right must be done in accordance with the principle of proportionality. This is also stated in Article 15 of the Convention. The principle of proportionality requires any interference of rights must be proportionate with a legitimate reason for limiting.

“Furthermore, matters of public interest change over time due to technological developments and societal attitudes. “CCF submits that knowing what constitutes public interest within a law is essential in protecting human rights as well as ensuring good governance, transparency and accountability of the state and law enforcement agencies.”

CCF has also called for proper safeguarding to ensure acts or information which invaded or restricted a person’s right to privacy and expression without legitimate cause.

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